Bailey had Diarrhea
It was a few weeks before Christmas. We had a full car and were heading back from skiing. The roof rack was filled with skis and the back of our VW Passat station wagon was filled to the brim with everything else. No room for Bailey back there and even if there had been, it would have been precarious for him to sit there. One sharp turn or heavy brake and all that stuff would have fallen onto our big but delicate almost 15 year old dog. So, the 4 humans in the family sat in the car as usual, with 2 in the front seats and 2 in the back. We put a board on the middle seat and covered it with padding and blankets to make a nice seat for Bailey. He is too big and long to fit on the seat otherwise.
All went well on our way to Vermont. Not so well on the way back. Bailey was restless. And more restless. Then he was gassy. We thought we should stop to let him poop if he had to. Good idea, only too late. He got up, groaned and let lose with a big smelly pile of diarrhea poop. Right on the blankets and on my seat belt buckle and my hand. We stopped to try to help Bailey and to clean up with whatever we had in the car. There was no way around it. I couldn't get out of my seat belt without putting my hand into a pile of diarrhea poop. I had to do it since my hand was already poopy and Bailey was in the middle seat between me and my daughter. I did it, we got Bailey out and I didn't touch anything not relating to cleaning up Bailey or car cleanup until I'd had a chance to thoroughly wash my hands.
Bailey walked around and let out another load of diarrhea. We got him as cleaned up as we could and got underway in search of cleaning supplies. We pulled into a strip mall a few miles later and stopped at a CVS. My husband stayed in the parking lot with Bailey and gave him a chance to walk around some more. The kids opened doors and went into CVS with me. The store employees were very helpful. We were shown to the back of the store and allowed to use the bathroom before shopping. I washed my hands in lots of soap and REALLY HOT water. Then we shopped. We bought a big container of baby wipes, scissors to trim Bailey's fur since he was loaded with poop and we'd already used a lot of wipes and there was a ton of poop left. We bought plastic bags to bag up the soiled linens and the dirties from our cleanup efforts. We paid and left the store to start the cleanup.
Luckily, most of the poop was on top of the blankets we had put down on top of the board to make Bailey's seat comfortable. So we wiped off what we could of the poop and bagged the blankets that were trashed. We cleaned Bailey with wipes and did a little butt haircut for the stuff we just couldn't get off. Funny thing is that he's so fluffy you wouldn't know he'd been trimmed. Then we did as much car cleanup as we could but I just couldn't get far enough into the seat belt buckle to do a thorough job. That would have to wait until we got home. My husband and devoted Dogfather headed over to a hardware to buy a tarp. He got one and we laid it down under Bailey and on top of the remaining padding we had on his board/seat. Off we went. The car smelled and so did Bailey, but after stopping again to triple bag the soiled linens it was a lot better. At least we weren't gagging anymore.
We got home 2 hours later. We unloaded us all and got the rest of our gear out of the car, including the triple bagged poopy linens. We scraped as much poop as we could from Bailey's blankets and flushed the poop down the toilet. We washed the soiled blankets in very hot water and didn't stop with regular laundry detergent. We added bleach to disinfect. We took Bailey upstairs to the best bathroom in the house for dog baths. It's the one with the dinosaur sprayer that we got when the kids were really little since it made rinsing their hair so much easier. It's great for Bailey baths too. We shampooed and rinsed Bailey off and, after he was toweled dry with those ultra absorbent camping towels, he smelled fabulous. We cleaned the tub with more bleach and hoped we were done.
We got him all set up in his bed in the master bedroom where he sleeps every night. It has hard wood floors and carpets to help him get his footing, so cleanup, if necessary would be easier than in a carpeted room, but not a breeze with the rugs. We couldn't just take out the rugs, because our old arthritic dog needs them to get around. But, was he done with the diarrhea? We didn't know, so we set him up in the bathroom on his bed. We put his bed down, covered it with plastic and then some blankets. We got a night light (Bailey prefers to sleep with a little light) and got him settled in for the night. I woke up at about 2am and decided to check on Bailey. He was laying in his diarrhea puddle. It was pathetic. So, I bagged the linens to wash later, took Bailey back to the bath and went through the same cleanup of Bailey and cleanup of the cleanup in the tub, put more blankets on Bailey's bed and put him and me back to bed. We did the same thing at 4 am, but we were really running through blankets so I did some laundry too. Luckily, Bailey was scheduled for a trip to the acupuncture vet the next morning. She used to be a regular vet, and Dr. M. is fabulous.
Why the Diarrhea?
Who knows? Not any bugs or worms (Bailey gave a nice sample of poop for testing when the vet's assistant was trying to take his temperature anally). Bailey was thoroughly examined, put on some antidiarrheal medicine and a diarrhea food regimen (more on that in the next posting at seniordogcentral.com) and he got much better. But what a mess!!